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Horse Riding Lesson Costs: What to Expect & How to Pay

Horse riding lessons usually cost about $20 to $120 per hour. Prices are set based on the instructor, the location, and the type of riding lesson. Private lessons are typically more expensive than group lessons. Many beginner riders start by taking a few private lessons to learn the basics, and then take group lessons. Some riding instructors offer discounts for multiple lessons.

In this article, you’ll learn more about the cost of horseback riding lessons, ways to reduce the cost of riding, tips on group vs private lessons, and some creative payment options for making riding lessons more accessible.

How to Pay for Horseback Riding Lessons

There are a few options available for paying for horse riding lessons.

One option is to pay for the lessons out of pocket. This option can be expensive, but it may be the only option available depending on where you live.

Another option is to look for scholarships or grants that can pay the cost of the lessons. These are rare and may take some time to research.

With some internet research, you might find a coupon or Groupon that can reduce the cost of horseback riding lessons.

Finally, you can look into taking on a working-student position to pay for the lessons. This option can be helpful if you have a good work ethic. Working students do horse chores in exchange for time in the saddle.

Whichever option you choose, make sure to do your research to ensure that you are getting the best deal possible.

Young woman riding her horse in an indoor riding school on a lunging rein held by a riding lesson instructor
Young woman riding her horse in an indoor riding school on a lunging rein held by a third party, with copy space

Ways to Make Riding Lessons Cheaper

When I was a kid, my very first riding lesson was in an open field in Kansas. A grumpy older rancher gave sparse instructions as I bounced around in the giant western saddle.

A few years later, I had the opportunity to take a lesson from an expensive hunter/jumper show barn. A certified riding instructor helped me mount a horse to ride for the first time. Once mounted, she coached me through my lesson as I circled her on a lunge line.

As my experience shows, riding lessons vary widely. While group lessons might be more fun, certified instructors safer, and show barns more exciting, there’s no wrong way to take a riding lesson as long as you’re safe.

Reduce the cost of riding lessons by:

  • riding at non-show barns,
  • learning from other riders instead of certified riding instructors,
  • or through riding less-than-schoolmaster lesson horses.

Many equestrians may feel there’s only one “right” way to take lessons. But if you are determined to ride and unable to because of the cost, there are ways to save money.

Finding Free Horseback Riding Lessons

There are a few places where you can take free horse riding lessons. One place is at a local stable. Many stables offer the first lesson free or may have reduced-price lessons for families that can’t afford riding lessons.

Another place to ride horses free and avoid the high cost of paying for riding lessons is through a 4-H club. 4-H clubs sometimes have free or reduced-price horse lessons for members. 4-H also offers a Horseless Horse program for youth who love horses but don’t have access to one.

Finally, there are many therapeutic riding centers that offer free or reduced-price horse riding lessons to those with special needs. Many people who have received qualifying health or mental health diagnoses may not identify as disabled. Because of this, they may think they don’t have access to these programs. However, these programs often enthusiastically welcome riders who qualify even if their diagnosis isn’t severe.

Riding lessons can be affordable for many people, especially if they take group lessons. Private lessons can be expensive, but they are often worth the investment to improve your riding skills. There are also many ways to find discounts on riding lessons, so it is worth researching the best deal.

Is the Cost of Private Horseback Riding Lessons Worth It?

There are several different types of riding lessons. Some people choose to take private horse riding lessons while others take group lessons. There are pros and cons to both options. The best option for you will depend on your individual needs, preferences, and especially budget.

If you choose to take private horse riding lessons, you will benefit from one-on-one attention from your instructor. They can be helpful when you are a beginner rider and need extra help to feel confident on a horse. Private lessons can be customized to your riding level and goals. Then you can learn at your own pace. The downside of private lessons is that they can be way more expensive than group lessons.

If you choose to take group horse riding lessons, you will be able to learn alongside other riders. This can be a fun and social experience, and you can learn from watching other riders as well as from your instructor. Group lessons can also be less expensive than private lessons. However, you may not get as much individual attention from your instructor and you may have to progress at the same pace as the other riders in your group.

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Book cover the equine listenology guide.

Want to do some preparation work while you research? Check out this read: The Equine Listening Guide. It is a great resource for all things equestrian, including stories from other riders and how-to’s for readying yourself (and your horse) for riding! Purchase here from Amazon, or here from a small bookseller.

Final Thoughts on the Cost of Horseback Riding Lessons

Horseback riding lessons can be a great way to learn about horses and riding. They also allow riders to bond with a horse and get some exercise.

However, riding lessons can be expensive. The high cost can be a barrier for some people.

There are ways to reduce the cost of lessons, such as taking group lessons or finding an instructor who offers discounts. There are also creative payment options, such as bartering for lessons or using a riding lesson coupon. No matter what your budget is, there is probably a way for you to take horseback riding lessons.

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Thursday 30th of March 2023

Do you have scholarships for riding lessons I'm interested in lessons I don't have the money for lessons

Tatum Norris

Thursday 27th of April 2023

Hi Amanda, no, unfortunately riding lesson scholarships are not available through